What is the process? How do you know what you are getting? "The fishermen will ring up, most in consortiums, they've been quite intelligent, not using markets as much, get in groups of like 4 or 5 boats, and they then will all target different things. Bring that all together and then the fish sales go online". You could buy at home, what Nathan gets if you know where to look. Fish can get around the country very quickly. That alone should eradicate the idea of fish being smelly as they are now sea to shop faster than before.

     Nathan supports the charity Fishermans mission (fishers have no support from the government when it comes to running businesses and fundraising any money). The charity single-handedly takes on the role of looking after fishers and their families. To the point, if a fisherman loses their life at sea, they will take responsibility for the whole funeral, and the "Government do fuck all". It's about full support, whether mental illness, family bereavement, injuries, bad weather (if they lose gear). Nathan says "fishermen are the worst people for asking for help". The fishing industry is much more beyond that piece of fish on the plate. One of the issues, sometimes people just don't want to know, they just want a tasty plate of food.


It must be gutting for
the local fishermen.
The boats that caught the tuna, the big boats, they took them all.



   
     With this liberal and loyal aesthetic, how does one create a menu for the discerning Michelin guest? Everything is dictated by what is there. Back in 2003, Nathan opened his first place, The Black Pig; money constraints meant they devised a jigsaw puzzle of having lots of elements (rather than signature dishes), so lots of sauces, dressings, garnishes etc. Then they just slotted in the protein. Find the best seafood and then work around what was available that day. It kept everyone on their toes, and it's a process that has evolved. To run a successful seafood restaurant, you need that flexibility. "It keeps everything fresh, nothing hangs around, its more challenging, and if the fishermen are 2/3 hours late, you start sweating".



     I ask about the fishermen themselves, and the trust involved, Nathan's mum had warned me that people in Port Isaac are never on time. Nathan says "Fishermen are never 100% honest", he bases this on an old family tale, a generation of fishermen and at a family gathering, one 80 year old declared "You can't even trust me". He laughs it off. You have to build your relationships up like anywhere else.

     You deal with them at the back door, "when I worked at Rick Steins you were a fishmonger as well as a chef, you'd weigh the fish and barter with them on the price". He says it's less like that now and it was fun, mentioning a bollocking from Rick when he paid too much once. Now prices are set. How boring.
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